Recipe: Cranberry & Nut Israeli Couscous Salad

I found this recipe while searching for a couscous recipe that had cranberries and nuts in it, I had an idea what to use for dressing, but ran across this recipe on Epicurious – it used spices that I definitely would not have used, but am so glad that I did. This recipe is one that was apparently created at Whole Foods. I checked their site for the recipe, but it wasn’t there. I did find it on Epicurious. This is a great side dish/salad that goes well with pretty much everything! It can be served warm or cold. This is a quick and easy recipe that will put a smile on your face! I added fresh orange wedges to it, and that makes all the difference, it takes it from a really good recipe to a blow your mind recipe. Yep, just with a few oranges!

Note: This recipe calls for Israeli couscous. I always thought of couscous as the tiny grain like pasta, which I never cared for, but after reading about it on Cookthink.com I saw that it was entirely diffferent. It’s puffier, this is what it looks like (the other couscous looks a bit like sand)…

Israeli CousCous [Cookthink.com]
Israeli CousCous [Cookthink.com]
This is the description from Cookthink.com:

Like couscous, so-called Israeli couscous are small, round, pasta-like granules made from semolina and wheat flour.

While the Israeli company Osem claims to have “invented” Israeli couscous in the 1950s, it is simply a marketing term for what was known previously as North African berkukes or Palestinian matfoul and popular in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Unlike familiar small, yellow semolina-based North African couscous, Israeli couscous (which is sometimes called pearl couscous) is twice as big and is toasted rather than dried. This gives it a nutty flavor and a sturdy composition that gives it a chewy bite and makes it stand up to sauce.

Israeli couscous can be used in salads, soups or as a base for chicken or fish. It works well when prepared like a rice pilaf.

Here’s the recipe – Click to print this recipe from Epicurious

israeli couscous with cranberries and pecans

ingredients

Salad:
2 cups Israeli couscous, uncooked
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted pecans, quartered
2 scallions, minced
Dressing:
3 tbsp canola oil (I used olive oil)
1.5 tbsp champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1 orange, zest
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: I added 2 1/2 oranges, cut into wedges (the other half is juiced in the above steps) – this made the recipe over the top good!

preparation

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the couscous. When it’s done (roughly 8-10 mins, or when it’s al dente), drain it but do not rinse. Set aside and let cool while you mince the scallions, toast and chop the pecans, and make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, vinegar, orange zest and juice, spices and salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, cranberries, pecans and scallions. Pour the well-whisked dressing over it and toss to combine.

Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours to blend the flavors.

This is what I did:
DSCN2348

Set out ingredients…

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Toast nuts in a dry non stick pan just until they start to turn a light brown and you can begin to smell them; beware, this step can go from good to bad quickly, so get the pan off the stove once you start to smell them roasting.

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Zest your orange (not the white part) – In a bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, fresh squeezed orange juice, zest and spices…

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Cut oranges into wedges or smaller pieces, however you like it… this will add a nice sweet burst of flavor- I don’t think you can have too many!

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After you cook the couscous in boiling water, as you would pasta (I did mine 6 minutes and it was perfect), drain it and put it into a bowl. Then, chop your green onions…

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Pour the dressing over the cooked couscous – oooowie, smells good, doesn’t it?

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Add the dried cranberries and orange segments…

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Add the green onions that you chopped a few minutes ago…

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Then add the toasted nuts…

T A D A ! !
T A D A ! !

Now you would think that I would put a serving in a pretty little dish and take a photo… but did I? Nope… I was hungry and I totally missed this step!  It would have been pretty too! We had grilled chicken, couscous and sautéed spinach – close your eyes a picture it… on a pretty plate… smell the wonderful combination of orange, roasted nuts, mmmmm… you know you want it… now go get busy! ENJOY!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

My post from a year ago… Featured Artist… Camille Przewodek!

My post from two years ago… Hootie and the Blowfish Concert…

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/ISRAELI-COUSCOUS-WITH-CRANBERRIES-AND-PECANS-A-LA-WHOLE-FOODS-50040927#ixzz2bILpVVTV

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